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*The Christ Has Presented His Credentials to the Media, New Age Organization Says*

A man claiming to be "Lord Maitreya" presented his credentials as the messiah before 200 media representatives and world leaders at an April 21-22 conference in London, according to the Tara Center of Los Angeles.

But Lynne Craft, spokeswoman for the organization founded by British New Age author Benjamin Creme, declined to say where the meeting took place and who the 200 conference participants were. She did say a member of a royal family and a Christian church bishop attended, along with various dignitaries and members of the intelligentsia.

Craft added that the man, who claims to be the "World Teacher" -- the Maitreya Buddha, the Messiah, the Imam Mahdi, or the Christ -- presented his credentials and astounded some of the conference-goers by "appearing, then disappearing." "He dematerialized in front of people," she said.

Asked why the so-called "historic conference" had not been reported in any prominent newspapers (by press time), Craft maintained that the timing of the release of the journalists' stories was up to them. She said that of the 200 attending the conference with "Lord Maitreya," about 50 were reporters.

According to a Tara Center advertisement published in newspapers throughout the U.S. in early April announcing the "historic global conference," "Maitreya has come as a spiritual teacher, primarily to inspire humanity to rebuild the world justly and fairly...His stimulus already underlies the freedom movement in Europe and Asia."

The advertisement claims that "Maitreya's forecasts of world events, from the Armenian earthquake, the British Poll Tax revolt, to the freeing of Nelson Mandela, have been released over the past two years and are still being released to the public. The April conference is a prelude to Declaration Day [the date has not been revealed], when Maitreya will present His credentials to humanity itself."

Such proclamations are reminiscent of a previous advertisement (April 1982) which Creme's organization paid $200,000 to place in prominent newspapers worldwide. It boldly announced, "THE CHRIST IS NOW HERE." Creme followed that advertisement with a press conference in which he proclaimed that Maitreya would appear before the end of spring. (Creme's announcement created a sensation and alarm in some quarters of the church, with several authors claiming that the Antichrist of the Bible was about to be revealed.)

Since that time, Creme has been vague as to the identity of Maitreya and has urged reporters to try to find him for themselves. According to an August 18, 1986 interview published in the (Grand Rapids) _Michigan Press,_ Creme claims that "for thousands of years Maitreya has lived in the Himalayas, in the mountain center which is about 17,500 feet up." On July 8, 1977 he allegedly descended in a "self-created body" and has been since living in the Asian-Indian community in the east end of London, in what's called the Brick Lane area.

In a telephone interview, Craft would not give the name Maitreya has assumed, but said it is the Asian equivalent of "Mr. Smith" in the English language, meaning that it was an ordinary-sounding name.

The Tara Center, through its publications -- the _Network News_ and _Share International_ -- has been tying in alleged appearances of Maitreya in Africa with alleged mysterious appearances of crosses of light in Louisiana and California. The organization has also been mailing out black and white photographs to reporters of a white-gowned man they claim is the Lord Maitreya as he has appeared in Africa.

But Craft said the man in those pictures (which have been published in the _National Enquirer_ and other publications) does not necessarily look like the one who appeared in London. "He appears in a form that will inspire recognition immediately," she said.

Asked how she knows she is not being fooled by a man claiming to be Maitreya, Craft replied: "People either respond to it or they don't. It's not a dogmatic matter....If it has the ring of truth to it you may accept it, you may not have to."


The Christian Research Journal is published quarterly by the Christian Research Institute (CRI) -- founded in 1960 by the late Dr. Walter R. Martin. While CRI is concerned with and involved in the general defense of the faith, our area of research specialization is limited to elements within the modern religious scene that compete with, assault, or undermine biblical Christianity. These include cults (that is, groups which deny essential Christian doctrines such as the deity of Christ and the Trinity); the occult, much of which has become focused in the contemporary New Age movement; the major world religions; and aberrant Christian teachings (that is, teachings which compromise or confuse essential biblical truth).

Regular features of the Journal include "Newswatch," witnessing tips and book reviews.